Postcard from Mexico City: Fantastical creatures paraded through downtown

Running a fever, Pedro Linares (1906-1992) awoke from his nightmarish sleep with colorful fantastical creatures racing through his head. In 1936, the Mexico City artisan began translating those visions into folk art he labeled alebrijes, a form that has become the livelihood of several towns in Oaxaca, including San Martin Tilcajete.

Celebrating the colorful tradition of Linares, the Museo de Arte Popular in Mexico City began staging an annual parade, Desfile de Alebrijes, 11 years ago. The parade features competitive entries of these creatures, as though on steroids, crafted in papier-mache.

Here are a few snapshots taken on La Reforma today.

 

 

Postcard from Oaxaca, Mexico: Surrounded by sounds of entertainment

Anyone longing for a bit of live music can simply stroll to the Zocalo in the heart of Oaxaca almost any time of day. Student orchestras and the full state band perform regularly, often challenged by street musicians trolling for tips nearby. Guitars, flutes, marimbas, horns, accordions. Wedding parties parade around town on weekends followed by bands and dancers.

The Zocalo attracts couples who have danced together for years, hardly needing a nudge from partners to stay completely in step executing the most complicated maneuvers of traditional danzones. But the youthful exuberance encountered on a Friday night in Parque El Llano was a refreshing hoot. The high heels and tennis shoes in the photo above managed to partner up for dancing at the end-of-the-week party.

But who brought on the clowns? Clowns increasingly amplified with wireless microphones. People of all ages crowd around, laughing and applauding as on cue.

This enduring affection for street performers clowning around is found throughout Europe. It never translates into anything close to amusing for me.

I grew up laughing over Bozo the Clown and the Three Stooges. How did I get so jaded?

Clowns make me frown, but music makes me smile.

Postcard from Oaxaca, Mexico: Always high season for calaveras

So many calaveras pop up in Oaxaca, one would think these photos represent newcomers to the street scene added to herald the approach of Day of the Dead.

But I must confess, the timeliness is coincidental. These “postcards” of street art date from mid-August.

Calaveras and catrinas never are out of season in Oaxaca.